This is the first of our detailed looks at the Pennine range over the years, to give a more specific insight into each model, the pros, cons and specifications that will be key in any potential purchasing decisions.
The Pennine Aztec is the baby of the Pennine family, and was produced from 1980 to 1999. Although it has the lowest level of spec. and the lowest overall internal area, it is, by far, the most popular model we sell. This is, primarily, because there is nothing like it in the Pennine range, either current or previous. Being so small, the Aztec is easier to tow and store than the other models in the range, and, hence, is a popular choice with first time users, especially those who are making the move from traditional tents and camping.
The Aztec is a four berth folding camper, with basic kitchen facilities, including a cold water fed sink, 2 burner hob and grill, with loads of storage space, comfortable seating and two large beds (one a double and the other a king size). The overall setup time is between 10 and 15 minutes, for the camper on its own, with a further 20 – 30 minutes for the optional awning, It can be used with the two double beds permanently made up, or with one permanent bed, and one large settee. Retaining straps hold the bedding in place, so the bed(s) can even be left made up whilst in transit / storage.
With a gross laden weight of just 450kg, the Aztec can be pulled by a 1.1 litre car, with ease. The full length, including draw bar is 2.87M, and, when folded, the camper is 1.73M wide, and 1.15M high, yet it opens out into a relatively spacious 4 berth accommodation. The camper includes, as standard, a gas fueled 2 burner hob and grill, and a sink, with small drainer, with a cold water faucet, fed by a manual foot pump. 12V and 240V electric systems were optional extras.
Review / Appraisal
The Aztec is a 4 berth camper, which sleeps 4 in total comfort. Like many of the range, though, its maximum berth potential is best realised when used in conjunction with the optional awning. This is, largely due to the fact that, whilst it has two good sized double / king size beds, one of those is utilised in the making up of the settee. Also, once it is made up, whilst it will seat 4 people, they would need to be pretty close, and dining around the table would also be pretty snug.
For some, the space might feel a little claustrophobic, if trapped inside with a couple of bored kids on a rainy day. That said, hundreds of families seem to manage in the tiniest of tents, so I guess it’s all down to personal preferences.
Personally, I tend to think of the Aztec as a really comfortable 2 berth, with the potential for a permanently made up king size bed, coupled with a large, comfortable settee, with plenty of storage space behind. In this configuration, the Aztec can be used, on its own, without the optional awning, for the shorter break, whilst having the option of the awning for longer stays / larger parties.
That said, another very popular configuration with families is to have both beds permanently set up, whilst using the awning for living / dining. Again, all down to personal preference.
The level of equipment is not as comprehensive as other models, with the most noticeable omission being a fridge. Also, there is no lighting in the camper, and the water pump is manual, so most do not come with a leisure battery or 12V system. There simply isn’t the need for them. Some do come with a mains electric system, but, where this is not installed, there are plenty of mains hookup systems available, from about £15 upwards to ensure fridges, TVs, microwaves etc are viable additions to the camping experience.
The Aztec is a great introduction to the world of the folding camper. They can be found for the same sort of cost as a more basic trailer tent, or little more than a decent tent. They can be set up in a fraction of the time of an ordinary tent, and yet offer far greater levels of comfort and equipment. Whilst not as well equipped as the larger models, the Aztec is, for many, a far less daunting prospect to tow, whilst being even easier to store, and manouver. For many, it’s the ideal way to put a toe into the water and give it a go.
If you would like to take a look at any brochures, manuals etc, or check out the dimensions and other specifications for this model, feel free to take a look at the Pennine Aztec Model Summary on the Blue Sky Web Site.
For a quick video tour of a 1998 Aztec, c/w awning, click on the image below;